Rabbits have been adored and loved by people for centuries. They are found throughout the world and have a place in children’s books, TV and toys. The Easter Bunny is probably the most famous of all and Bugs Bunny may be a close second. Could an animal which is so widely loved ever cause a problem? Have no doubt about it; rabbits can be a pest.
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The cottontail and snowshoe or varying hare are distributed throughout the United States. In general, they are able to live in rural as well as urban environments. They are able to reproduce quickly and will fill the landscape with as many rabbits that are able to survive. As their numbers increase, so do predatory animal populations. Fox, cats, dogs, people and coyote are just some of the animals that like to eat rabbit. In the wild, these predatory animals are able to help keep rabbit populations in check.
Problems arise in urban areas where no predators exist. In addition to the native rabbit species, there has been a recent explosion of rabbits which have been released by people who were not prepared for the reproduction capabilities of their pets. These domestic rabbits are being released in the wild on a regular basis. Pet owners are not willing to let their one or two rabbits become 10 or 20 so litters are released in the wild. Unfortunately, the “wild” areas are many times all too close to residential landscape and gardens.
Domestic rabbits which are released to fend for themselves are not prepared or designed to “live off the land”. They much prefer processed food and when unable to find any will quickly feed in gardens and flower beds. Rabbits are nocturnal and will feed on just about any plant they are able to reach. Succulent pansies, just about any garden vegetable or fruit and several ground cover species of shrub are all targets for hungry grazing rabbits. Since they strike at night, rabbits may go unnoticed for weeks. Eventually, the gardener may notice plants are simply disappearing or dying.
RABBIT DAMAGE IN THE YARD
A sure sign is when you find their droppings which are round and small – much like a “cocoa puff” – in the flower bed. Other sure signs rabbits are the guilty animal is the damage they do. Rabbits will eat randomly. Instead of ingesting the entire plant, they may only chew the flower or half the plant before moving to the next. This behavior tends to maximize the damage they do and can be frustrating to the gardener.
There are limited approaches to controlling local rabbit populations. Although they may appear cute when they first appear in your yard, rest assured they are looking for something to eat. Once eating patterns are established, it can be difficult to change. Traditional approaches including wire fences, scarecrow like dolls or predatory animals will not work. Domestic rabbits which have been released in the wild are used to such devices and are not afraid of them. More importantly, these rabbits are large. The average adult is the size of a large cat. Because they are so big, cats will shy away from killing them. And because they are living in true metro and city environments, it is not likely that other predators will be able to help in controlling populations. This means you will have to take action if you want to stop them from destroying your plants and landscape.
The first approach is a passive attempt to get them to forage elsewhere. This can be accomplished by applying a granule and spray. If you are not sure what they are eating but have seen them active in certain areas of your yard, PEST RID GRANULES sprinkled out with PEST RID SPRAY applied over the top will keep them off the turf you treat. Pest Rid uses plant and food grade actives which irritate certain animals like rabbits and you can apply it areas in the yard where you don’t want rabbits active. Common areas to to treat include gardens, flower beds, mulch islands or turf where rabbits are seen. Pest Rid is formulated to withstand rain and sun and will last 1-2 months per treatment depending on the nature of the climate.
Rabbit Away Granules: http://www.bugspraycart.com/exempt/granule/pest-rid-exempt-granules-2-pound
Another type of repellent you can try is COYOTE URINE. This has long been believed to naturally repel several small animals since coyote will feed on just about anything they can find. Rats, mice, squirrel, chipmunks and rabbits all seem to be afraid of coyote and coyote urine is a sure sign some are in the area. Apply it along property lines to keep rabbits from entering your yard. It is best to use some in several areas effectively establishing a round zone or barrier through which rabbits will not be able to enter.
BEST RABBIT REPELLENT
To get the best results using repellents, use the Pest Rid Granules and Spray in the yard where you see them foraging. Next, apply the Coyote Urine along the property line where you believe they are entering. This strategy will yield the best results.
Now to maximize the longevity of the Coyote Urine and Pest Rid Granules, install GRANULE/LIQUID GUARDS. These hold granules or liquids and will both shield and protect the material from the rain and sun. Install Guards along pathways, in flower beds and other areas where rabbits are active. You should still sprinkle some of the material on the ground where the rabbits are most active but once they are gone you can use the Guards exclusively. This will let you get the longest residual from the Pest Rid and Urine. Keep in mind that the use of either of these repellents works best if your problem rabbit is coming around your property and not actually living there. Repellents like these work best when targeting foraging rabbits and not so much if they’re living under your deck or in your flower bed. Also, either repellent is a good place to start but the use of both is always going to be the best option. In other words, the more repellents put in place the better.
BEST RABBIT SPRAY
Unlike the Pest Rid Spray and Granules which rely on smell to repel rabbits, ROPEL LIQUID is a bad tasting agent that can be used directly on plants, grass, etc. that you want to protect. It tastes terrible and will stop rabbits from eating any flower or shrub which has been treated. Ropel will not hurt anything. It has been formulated for use on plants and inanimate objects which nuisance animals want to chew. Under normal weather conditions, even trace amounts of Ropel will chase away even the most stubborn rabbit. This is because the Ropel will last through rain and continue to be active. The net effect it has is to force the rabbits elsewhere to find food.
For large areas, get the DEER OFF. It’s concentrated and must be mixed. Gallons will make 8 finished gallons of spray. Coverage is about 2000 sq/ft per finished gallon which means you’ll get 16,000 sq/ft of protection from 1 gallon of concentrate. And don’t let the name mislead you; as you can see in the picture we posted, it will work on Rabbits just as well as it will work deer. The big advantage of the Deer Off concentrate is that it will last longer compared to Ropel. Unlike the Ropel that can last 2-4 weeks, the Deer Off will last 2-3 months. That means you won’t have to spray nearly as much.
The end result with Deer Off is to change the habit of the rabbit. So when used properly, grazing should stop immediately following treatment but in some cases, the rabbit may choose another plant on your property to eat so watch carefully for this pattern. If this happens, simply treat the new food supply. Do this as often as needed. Generally, the rabbit will move after one encounter with Deer Off, but in some cases a few treatments may be necessary.
If the rabbit is still persisting in hanging around and you don’t want to risk it damaging any of your plants, install some ANIMAL NETTING. This mesh like plastic is easy to install and will protect flowers, vegetables, shrubs and just about anything a rabbit might target as food. Just cut it to size, place around the plant you want to protect and either tie it on with something like fishing line or some light twine. This product will deter even the most stubborn of rabbits and once installed, can either be left on the plant for the time you want to protect it or removed when not not needed and the rabbits have moved away. Since the mesh is light, it will move with the growth of the plant it is protecting. Furthermore, it will not take away any water, nutrients or sun light so the protected plant will be able to grow naturally.
If the passive repellents are not working, you will need to get one of the more aggressive repellents we have. This device can be set out in the yard, around the garden or at entry points. It works by spraying the rabbits with water which comes from your garden hose. Our MOTION ACTIVATED SPRAYING DEVICE will protect your yard 24 hours a day; 7 days a week. It has several features which makes it an ideal addition to any yard. This device uses a motion detector to sense any movement in it’s “zone”. The “zone” is adjustable and can be set for distances up to 35 feet. Though it can “see” further, it will loose accuracy due to the distance it will have to spray. Once the “zone” is set, the unit is left alone to do it’s job. It has a field of view over 45 degrees and once it sees movement, it will zero in on the target and spray it with a three second blast of water. It then resets within 10 seconds and is ready to spray again. It runs off a 9 volt battery, has a water port pass through to allow several hooked up in series and can used on just about any nuisance animal. Setting some of these out in your garden area will not hurt anything and they will work around the clock without needing any rest or maintenance.
RABBIT ULTRA SOUND REPELLER
Another repellent that can protect small areas is our YARD GARD ULTRA SOUND DEVICE. It can be configured to be “on” all the time and when powered via it’s included AC power supply, you can have it run continuously pointed at the plants and/or flowers you need to protect. Rabbits don’t move enough to get the unit to activate when using it in “motion sensor” mode. But when set to continuously sound, the Yard Gard will keep away any foraging animal like rabbits.
RABBIT LIVE TRAP
If local food is not available or the population of rabbits around your property is big, it may take more than the use of repellents. Trapping nuisance animals may be your only option. Use a LT111230 to catch rabbits quickly and effectively. The best bait to use in the trap is that which the rabbit is eating. Take cuttings from the plant or flower it has been feeding on and place a trail leading into the trap. Place the trap where you are experiencing the activity and you will be able to live catch the pest.
RABBIT BAIT AND LURE
If you are not having success using these items as bait, use our TRAPPERS CHOICE RABBIT LURE. This special paste combines several food items rabbits love and has a strong odor rabbits can’t resist. It will help catch any rabbit which is a plant eater. You may catch it quicker by placing some short fencing around the desired plant at night when you first set the trap. Though such fencing may be unsightly, you will only need to keep it in place for few days. The fence will force the rabbit to enter the trap all the more quicker since it won’t have access to it’s regular food combined with the attractive smell in the trap. If the area where the rabbit is browsing is large, you should employ some of the special TRAILING SCENT. This highly concentrated lure is used outside the traps entrance and will effectively increase the area being reached by the scent of the trap. Use 1-2 drops applied on the ground at the entrance to the trap. Next, place 1-2 drops out from the trap every 1-2 feet in a couple of directions.
Trailing Scent: http://www.bugspraycart.com/traps/lure/rabbit-trail-1-oz
By having the scent placed out over a large area, foraging rabbits will undoubtedly smell it even if they miss the trap by a wide margin. Remember, they don’t have great eyes and rely mostly on their sense of smell. By using the Trailing Scent you will be able to lead them in the traps direction. This could be vital for successful trapping since the average rabbit is “smart” enough or curious enough to enter cages in search of food. Unlike raccoon or squirrels, which have a natural curiosity to seek food aggressively and are quite easy to trap, rabbits will many times need a lot of help. Once trapped, you will need to relocate the rabbit at least 5 miles away to insure it will not return. Rabbits don’t migrate well and will take residence at the first place they are able to find a good food supply. Be sure to locate the animal where you know there will be a food supply so that it won’t return to your property.
RABBIT KILL TRAP
Another trap design which can be utilized when conditions are right is the BODYGRIP 110 or BODYGRIP 220. These ares true kill traps. It can be used when you have a known path on which the nuisance rabbits are traveling. The best place to set one up is on one side of a hole through a fence or thick vegetation. Since rabbits will use their trails over and over again, natural funnels with small entrances will work. Set the trap up with a BODYGRIP STAND. The stake design is best suited for these applications. Just drive the Stand into the ground making sure it is anchored well. Next, set the 220 and then fit it over the Stand. Since the springs on these traps can be hard to set, you may need to get some SETTERS. When the target rabbit comes walking through this area and tries to pass through the trap, it will get crushed. The two springs are quite strong and will probably break your hand should you get accidently caught. This trap works quickly and humanely. Remember, it will hurt cats, dogs or other small animals that pass through it so be careful when using it in residential areas. However, the need for quick and thorough removal of local populations can warrant the use of Bodygrip Traps and it can be a very effective tool when the conditions are right.
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